All Things Lime

Freshly picked selection:

Lime

Limes are small green citrus fruits that are similar in shape to a lemon.  They have a thin outer skin and 8 segments like other citrus fruits.  Limes were given to British sailors to prevent scurvy because of their high vitamin C content.  The Persian lime is the variety seen in most grocery stores while the Florida Key Lime is found throughout Florida, and some specialty stores outside of Florida.  Limes are grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

What do I look for?

Limes should have thin bright green skin that lightly gives when pressed.  Choose limes that feel heavy for their size.  Avoid limes that have hard dense skin.  Limes that have brown patches (scald) won’t affect their flavor.

Ways to Eat:

While limes are a delicious accompaniment and flavor enhancer, they are generally not eaten individually due to their acidity.  Add lime juice or zest to tacos, smoothies, beverages, soups…the list goes on.  Their natural acidity adds brightness to any dish you add it to.

Recipes:

This Roast Chicken with Scallion, Ginger, and Lime blends bright flavors for a delicious weeknight meal.

Who says you have to cook rice in water?  This Coconut Lime Rice is the perfect accompaniment to a fruit salsa and grilled protein such as chicken or steak.

These Vegan Mini Key Lime Pie’s are the perfect healthy play on Key Lime Pie.

Nutritional Benefits:


References:

Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Lemon/Limes.” Worlds Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=27.

Mediterranean 101

You may have heard that a Mediterranean style of eating can lead to a healthier life, but what does this mean exactly? There is a lot of information out there regarding the Mediterranean diet and we have pulled together what it really means for you and why it really should be considered a lifestyle and not a “diet”.

The Mediterranean way of eating is, of course, adapted from those who live in the Mediterranean.  Research suggests that following this eating pattern leads to decreased risk of heart disease, lower LDL levels, decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and cancer.

Eating foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, nuts, and some fish are hallmarks of this eating pattern.  Yes, fats (especially plant based fats that aren’t saturated) are good for you!  Eating the Mediterranean way doesn’t focus on limiting calories and fat consumption; it’s more about the types of fats and foods eaten.

Foods that are consumed frequently are fish, chicken (lean protein), nuts and seeds, lots of fruits and vegetables, olive oils, whole grains, whole grain breads and pastas, herbs and spices.  Salt should be used sparingly and most flavor should come from fresh herbs and spices.

The experience matters just as much as the food when you follow the Mediterranean lifestyle.  Cooking the meal and gathering with friends and family, as well as letting a meal last instead of rushing through, is ideal.  This way you are truly able to savor and listen to your body’s cues of fullness.  Having a glass of wine with dinner is common, though it is enjoyed thoughtfully and in moderation, if at all.

Red meat is typically consumed no more than once per week if that, and low fat dairy products are used instead of full fat. Choose unprocessed, unrefined oils (cold pressed is best) and avoid butter or any food high in saturated fats from animals, such as bacon or sausage.  Load up on a variety of in-season vegetables, whole grains, minimally processed breads and pastas, and raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds.  Remove processed foods and avoid anything fried.  Skip dessert and enjoy a ripe piece of fruit instead.  Sugar should be consumed in small amounts if at all, and is more acceptable in the form of a natural sweetener.

Staying active is an important aspect of this lifestyle as well!  It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but walking, playing a game, and physically exerting yourself for energy, metabolism, and health is vital.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(image courtesy of Fundacion Dieta Mediterranea)

The Mediterranean lifestyle is a well-rounded lifestyle that includes food, activity, and socialization.  Following this lifestyle may be appropriate for you if you are looking to lead a healthier way of life in general.  Some aspects may not work for everyone, but generally, it is a good place to start for lifestyle change.

As always, speak to your practitioner if you are interested in following the Mediterranean way of eating to be sure it is appropriate for you, or you can make an appointment to speak to one of our PreviMedica nutritionists by contacting us at 855-773-8463.


Stefanie Gates, chef, is a regular contributor to our blog and a culinary advisor for PreviMedica. She enjoys developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about her here.

All Things Swiss Chard

Freshly picked selection:

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is actually a member of the beet family.  These leafy greens can have brilliantly colored stalks and veins such as orange, red, white purple, and more.  The varieties that are pale in color are lighter in flavor, and the varieties that are bold in color have a stronger flavor.  Chard originates from countries that border the Mediterranean Sea but is now produced worldwide.  You can find Chard year round, but it is best during the summer months.

What do I look for?

Chard should be bright in color and crisp with minimally damaged leaves.  The stalks should not be limp.  Chard should be stored loosely in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three days after purchasing.

Ways to Eat:

It is recommended to boil chard (uncovered) to let the acids leach into the water.  The flavor will be more pleasant afterwards.  It can also be sauteed or steamed.

Recipes:

Keep it simple with garlic and lemon with this Sauteed Chard recipe.

This Sweet Potato and Chard Salad recipe balances bitterness of chard with sweetness of sweet potatoes.

Have a healthy snack or salad accompaniment by pickling the stems!

Nutritional Benefits:


References:

Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Swiss Chard.” Worlds Healthiest Foods, http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=16.

Coconut Flour Bread

We get a lot of requests for grain-free bread recipes that taste good and are simple to make.  Almond flour and coconut flour are both common and extremely versatile in the kitchen, but sometimes, almonds aren’t an option whether it’s an allergy or an avoidance.  This recipe utilizes coconut flour and coconut oil which are Candida “fighters”, and it includes erythritol, which is a plant based sugar alcohol that is appropriate to consume when following a Candida elimination plan.  You can feel good about having this bread whether you are eating it to stay grain free or eating it to fight Candida!

Coconut Flour Bread

Adapted from: dropthesugar.com

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 4 eggs plus 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. erythritol

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix the coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and erythritol together in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and eggs.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold until everything is incorporated.
  5. Lightly oil a bread pan and pour batter into bread pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.

Stefanie Gates, chef, is a regular contributor to our blog and a culinary advisor for PreviMedica. She enjoys developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about her here.

 

All Things Watermelon

Freshly picked selection:

Watermelon

For many, a juicy slice of ripe watermelon is the definition of summertime and backyard BBQ’s.   Watermelons come in many colors and sizes and their flesh can range from red, pink, ivory, orange or yellow.  They can be as small as a cantaloupe and weigh as much as 260 lbs, as cited by the Guinness Book of World Records.  Watermelons originate from Africa and have an extremely high water content with sweet, juicy, yet crisp flesh.  Their peak season is from mid June to late August although you can typically find watermelon outside of those times, they just may not be as sweet.

What do I look for?

The outside of a watermelon should be cylindrical in shape without any flat spots.  The rind should not be punctured, bruised, or soft.  When cut, the flesh should be vibrant in color without any dry looking patches and to the eye should not be grainy in texture.  Seedless watermelons typically will still have some seeds, but they are soft in texture and edible.

Ways to Eat:

A ripe watermelon is delicious when freshly sliced.  They can also be enjoyed in juices, smoothies, alcoholic beverages, sorbets, salads, desserts or even quickly seared or grilled for a savory approach.  In many parts of the world, every part of the watermelon is used – even the rind.  Pickling the rind is very popular in southern cuisine and in other cultures.  In Asian cuisine, the seeds are often enjoyed roasted.

Recipes:

Put a twist on your favorite Caprese salad by adding watermelon; it’s a light and refreshing appetizer for those hot summer days!

This Grilled Watermelon Salad adds contrast to the sweetness of watermelon by giving it a quick sear on the grill.

This Summer Shrimp Salad combines all of the fresh flavors of lime, watermelon, cilantro, and avocado into a refreshingly light salad topped with shrimp.

Nutritional Benefits:

References:

Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Watermelon.” Worlds Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=31.

Low Histamine 101

If you’ve tried the conventional route and have even searched for natural remedies to help alleviate allergies but are still experiencing nagging symptoms, it’s possible that a histamine intolerance is at play. A low histamine eating plan could provide some relief! Here is what you need to know:

What are Histamines?
Histamines are biogenic amines released by our cells in response to injury, inflammation, and allergic reactions. They are also naturally occurring in many foods.

In healthy individuals, histamine is rapidly removed by DAO (diamine oxidase) and HNMT (histamine n-methyltransferase) enzymes. The main enzyme, DAO is stored in epithelial cells and secreted into the circulation on stimulation.

Histamine intolerance results when the body is unable to breakdown histamine sufficiently, leading to a histamine excess. This can lead to a host of symptoms which usually mimic those of an allergic response. The main cause of histamine intolerance seems to be the impairment of DAO activity caused by gastrointestinal diseases or through the inhibition of DAO. There is also evidence for a genetic predisposition for histamine intolerance in some people.

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms?

Histamine intolerance can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are similar to those seen with allergies, as well as symptoms of sulfite intolerance or intolerance to other amines. The signs and symptoms of histamine intolerance include:

• Diarrhea
• Headache
• Hives
• Asthma
• Hypotension (low blood pressure)
• Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
• Pruritus (severe itching of the skin)
• Nasal congestion and runny nose
• Tissue swelling (usually of the face or oral tissue and sometimes throat)
• Chest pain
• Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
• Fatigue/confusion/irritability
• Flushing

Additionally, excess histamine in individuals with histamine intolerance can exacerbate some existing conditions such as eczema, digestive issues, and anaphylaxis.

Low Histamine Eating Plan
Histamine intolerance will vary from person to person. What sets off symptoms for one person, might not do the same for someone else. This is due to the many different factors leading to a histamine intolerance and any other medical conditions present that may be contributing to the amount of histamine in the body. Therefore, the guidelines for foods to avoid are to be used as tools to help each person determine what their threshold level is.

There is no such thing as a histamine-free diet so keeping histamine intake as low as possible is key. When considering a low histamine plan, it’s best to avoid all foods known to contain high and moderate amounts of histamine, foods known as histamine liberators, and those that are DAO inhibitors.

Improvements in symptoms are usually noticed after 4 weeks of following a low histamine plan. Once symptoms are alleviated, one can determine the individual threshold levels by introducing foods back one at a time into the diet. A food diary can be very helpful in keeping track of foods and symptoms, and will facilitate creating a customized list of foods to avoid for each individual.

 

Aside from histamine-rich foods, some foods, like alcohol, are also DAO inhibitors and should be avoided for that reason. Other guidelines are as follows:
• Avoid canned or ready-made meals
• Avoid ripened, fermented, or aged foods (aged cheeses, alcoholic beverages, yeast containing products, stale fish)
• Purchase and consume only fresh products
• Avoid leaving food out of the refrigerator (especially meat products)
• Consume only fresh wild caught fish (ideally cooked within 30 minutes of catching)
• Avoid smoked products such as ham, salami, and sausages
• Avoid foods that contain preservatives and artificial colors. Focus on consuming fresh whole foods.
• Avoid histamine liberators. (Some of these are citrus, cocoa, nuts, papaya, beans, tomatoes, and spinach.)
• Avoid DAO blockers. (alcohol, black/green/mate tea, energy drinks)

Histamine intolerances often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to the number of different symptoms that may result and their similarity with those symptoms of allergies and other intolerances. All histamine sensitivities are not created equally and efforts should be made to determine the mechanism of the histamine intolerance and individual threshold level, therefore it’s best to implement with help and guidance from a qualified nutrition expert like our experts at PreviMedica. If you are interested in scheduling a nutrition consultation or enrolling in our monthly membership, give us a call at 855-773-8463. You can also schedule a complimentary discovery call by completing this quick questionnaire. 


References:
Maintz, Laura, and Natalija Novak. “Histamine and Histamine Intolerance.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 85 (2007): 1185-196. Web. 26 Feb. 2016. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/5/1185.long

“About HIT.” Histamine Intolerance. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2016. http://www.histamineintolerance.org.uk/about/

Joneja, Janice. “Histamine Intolerance Investigated by Dr Janice Joneja.” Histamine Intolerance Investigated by Dr Janice Joneja. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2016. http://www.foodsmatter.com/allergy_intolerance/histamine/articles/histamine_joneja.html

Joneja, Janice M. Vickerstaff, and Cabrini Carmona-Silva. “Outcome of a Histamine-restricted Diet Based on Chart Audit.” Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 11.4 (2001): 249-62. Web. http://www.encognitive.com/files/Outcome%20of%20a%20Histamine-restricted%20Diet%20Based%20on%20Chart%20Audit_0.pdf

All Things Grapes

Freshly picked selection:

Grapes

Grapes are technically berries that grow in clusters on small shrubs or vines.  There are thousands of varieties of grapes, but the main classifications are white and black (red).  They can be seedless or contain seeds, sweet or acidic, used for wine, juice, or commercial purposes.  Grapes are truly one of the most versatile berries available!

What do I look for?

Look for grapes that are firmly attached to the vine, plump, and vibrant in color.  The green grape variety should be yellow/green in color with little to no blemishes.  They should be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, and washed when ready to eat.  Grapes are part of the “Dirty Dozen” so it is important to wash them well when ready to eat as non-organic grapes are sprayed with insecticides.  Of course, organic is always recommended over conventional.

Ways to Eat:

Grapes can be eaten out of hand, in salads, jams, jellies, pies, the list goes on!  You can find them canned, fresh, juiced, dried, and of course, in wine.  The grapes that are used to make wine are not suitable for eating as they are too acidic.  Red grapes are in general the sweetest, green grapes are semi-sweet, and grapes used to make wine and the least sweet.

Recipes:

In this Chicken, Fennel, and Grape Salad, grapes add a layer of sweetness that is perfectly complimented by the tart red wine vinegar.

Frozen grapes make the perfect snack for kids and adults alike.  Take it to the next level by dipping them in Greek yogurt and seeds for protein healthy fat.  These Greek Yogurt Grape Popsicles are completely addictive AND healthy!

These Chicken Apple Wraps are so simple and made with ingredients you probably have on hand.  Wrap your chicken and grape mixture into a piece of lettuce for an extra boost of nutrition!

Nutritional Benefits:

References:

Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Grapes.” Worlds Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=40.

All Things Bell Pepper

Freshly picked selection:

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are named for their bell like shape and are found in a variety of colors.  The most common color is green but orange, yellow, red, and even purple are becoming more commonly seen.  Their flavor is mildly sweet and their flesh is juicy.  Red bells are actually green bells that have been ripened on the vine longer.

What do I look for?

Look for bell peppers that are firm and not limp or shriveled.  Their skin should be smooth, bright, and their stem should be green with no traces of black.

Ways to Eat:

Bell peppers are one of the most versatile foods and a staple in many different types of cuisines.  They can be chopped up and added to a mirepoix for base flavor like in Creole cooking; they can be stuffed, roasted, sauteed, grilled, baked, steamed…the list goes on.

Recipes:

It’s hard to say no to a Healthy Stuffed Pepper!

Master how to roast peppers three different ways.  Roasting is an incredibly easy way to bring out a peppers inherent sweetness that adds layers of flavor to any dish.

A Pepper and Onion Stir Fry is a great way to enjoy the flavors of the bell pepper with just a quick saute in the wok.

Nutritional Benefits:

References:

Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Bell Peppers.” Worlds Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=50&tname=foodspice.

Schedule a Complimentary Discovery Call with PreviMedica!

Have you wondered if our PreviMedica nutrition services would be a good fit for you? Do you have a nutrition-related health concern or questions about food and nutrition? Let’s talk!

We are offering you a complimentary 15-minute discovery call to learn more about our services and how we can help you reach your health and nutrition goals. As a bonus, if you purchase a 1-month membership (with 2 nutrition consultations) after our chat, you will receive $50 off the regular price.

Click on the following link to fill out a quick questionnaire and request your discovery call:https://previmedica.wufoo.com/forms/previmedica-complimentary-discovery-call/. We will be in touch to schedule your complimentary session!

Homemade Almond Cacao Milk

Making your own almond milk is something that seems daunting but in reality it’s one of the easiest things to make at home! All you need is a blender, a nut milk bag, or cheesecloth. We decided to jazz up our traditional almond milk recipe with antioxidant-rich cacao nibs and lightly sweeten it with dates. The end result is a delicious and seemingly decadent drink for any time of day!

Homemade Almond Cacao Milk

Recipe by: Stefanie Gates

Makes 2 cups of milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs or 2 tbsp. cacao powder
  • 4 pitted dates
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cover the almonds with enough water to cover them by at least an inch. Let soak overnight.
  2. Rinse the almonds well in a sieve and pour into blender (Vitamix works well). Add the 2 cups of filtered water, the dates, and the cacao nibs.
  3. Blend on high for about 3 minutes making sure all ingredients are pulverized.
  4. Once pulverized, pour the nut milk into a nut milk bag or into cheesecloth placed in a large bowl. Gently squeeze out liquid into the bowl with clean hands.  Work the pulp until all liquid is squeezed out and set aside.
  5. Pour the nut milk into an airtight container, jar, or milk container and refrigerate for up to three days.

*Note: homemade almond milk does not keep for longer than three days at a time so be sure to only make what you will drink in that time!

**You may also use cacao powder in the place of cacao nibs 


Stefanie Gates, chef, is a regular contributor to our blog and a culinary advisor for PreviMedica. She enjoys developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about her here.

 

 

« Older Entries